The 10 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners
Benefits Of Steam Cleaning
The first big benefit steam cleaners have is that they sanitize the area that you're working on.
If you're still cleaning your home with a spray bottle and paper towels, or using a mop to try to see your reflection in your floors, you're living in the Stone Age. While you're spraying those caustic chemicals all over your counters, how can you be sure you're not getting any on your food? And when you mop, did you know you're spreading bacteria all over your floor with every pass?
But fear not, for if traditional cleaning is the Stone Age, then steam cleaners are...whatever came after the Stone Age. These handheld devices can be vastly superior to the outdated cleaning methods you've relied on in the past, and once you've tried one, you'll likely never go back.
The first big benefit steam cleaners have is that they sanitize the area that you're working on. The blasts of steam can kill bacteria on contact, ensuring that your surfaces are actually clean instead of just looking like it. This is especially true for cracks, crevices, and other hard-to-reach places. With a steam cleaner, you can make those areas sparkle, without having to use too much elbow grease.
If you suffer from allergies, then a steam cleaner is practically a must-own. These devices can vaporize allergens and other contaminants on contact, rather than just moving them to a different part of your house. Dust mites are especially vulnerable to hot blasts, so you can exterminate those little cooties with a vengeance.
Additionally, you'll save money with a steam cleaner since you won't need to buy cleaning products. That's also better for the environment, as many of the chemicals used in household cleaning can be full of pollutants. If you have pets or small children in the house, you won't have to worry about them accidentally ingesting anything nasty, either.
The best part, however? No more back-breaking labor. Simply wave your steam cleaner like a magic wand, make a quick swipe with a rag, and the dirt and grime will disappear. You'll feel how David Copperfield must feel when he cleans his house.
How Does Steam Cleaning Work?
A steam cleaner is actually a pretty simple machine. Shaped like a small handheld vacuum cleaner, it has a boiler on the inside that heats water up to 360°F to produce a dry steam that's only about 6 percent water.
It loosens up dirt and grime, allowing it to be easily removed, while simultaneously vaporizing microbes and bacteria.
You simply point the nozzle at the area you want to clean, which directs a blast of hot steam at it. This steam penetrates porous materials like grout, getting down deep in there where your rag couldn't hope to reach. It loosens up dirt and grime, allowing it to be easily removed, while simultaneously vaporizing microbes and bacteria.
Many cleaners have towels or brushes at the end of the nozzle to wipe up the debris as it gets broken up, or you can simply use a cloth after steaming the area. Of course, if you prefer, you can leave the surface to air-dry. Some also have vacuum attachments that will suck up all that crud as you go. This is more commonly seen on the deep steam cleaners that you rent for intensive carpet cleaning, however.
You can also use detergent with your steam cleaner if you so desire, although that kind of defeats the purpose of going chemical-free. Still, it's better for you and the environment than most spray cleaners, so, if it makes you feel better, go for it.
Steam cleaners work on just about any surface, provided that it's not sensitive to heat. That means one little machine can be all you need to clean your kitchen, carpet, and upholstery. Be sure to check or spot-test before you go crazy with the steamer, though, so that you don't cause any permanent damage.
Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Steam Cleaner
Just having a steam cleaner doesn't make you a true cleaning ninja. No, like all great warriors, you must know how to wield your sword.
Take a day every few months and target those areas in particular.
The first thing, as mentioned, is to know which surfaces aren't suitable for steam cleaning. Freshly painted surfaces should be avoided, and many people think you shouldn't steam anything if it's been painted. However, others are firm believers in steam cleaning walls. Whichever you choose, just be careful. Surfaces like vinyl and treated wood should be done quickly, without lingering.
Steamers are great for cleaning things that you know need it, but that you'll always procrastinate to avoid. Take a day every few months and target those areas in particular. Dusty ceiling fans, grungy showers, and dust mite-filled mattresses are all prime targets for a good steaming. You can even go after some of the nastiest parts of your home, like cat litter boxes and baby-changing areas.
Of course, this likely goes without saying, but be careful when using your cleaner. As it turns out, steam is hot! Accidentally blasting yourself or someone else could be painful, so pay attention to what you're doing.
Once you've gotten the hang of using your steamer, you'll be amazed at how clean your house can be — and how easy it can be to make it that way. You might even start to look forward to cleaning!